Lack of motivation. Every artist has experienced it. The necessities of daily life weigh your creative soul down like an anchor. You have nothing left to give your art that day. So you surrender to the despair in your soul and proceed to binge-watch three episodes of "Pretty Little Liars" on Netflix or mindlessly burn time on social media.
Other times you DO feel motivated to be artistically productive. Maybe you captured a great idea and the motivation to draw or paint flows like pure water from the nourishing river of your soul. Art is born effortlessly.
What is the happy medium between these two polar opposite experiences in the life of the artist?
It’s a lot more simple than you think.
It’s not easy, but it's simple.
The common factor between those two opposite experiences is your feelings.
Today that changes. From here on out, you won't look to your emotions for motivation.
So what's your new secret to staying creatively motivated? Ready?
Here it is.
You set aside time daily where you choose to work on your art.
Sometimes you’ll feel like it. Other times you won’t. But the good news is that the emotional component is now entirely irrelevant to you.
What you’re doing now is looking to the future. What goals do you want to accomplish with your art? Keep that in mind. Because you’re going to refer back to those again and again every day when you sit down to make art.
Choose to be Consistent
I’ve heard that Jerry Seinfeld, as a young comedian, had a large calendar on his wall. Every day he sat down to write new material, he put an X on that day. His goal was to have an unbroken chain of X’s on this calendar.
What Jerry Seinfeld learned is that the simple act of sitting down daily to write will itself bear the fruit of productivity.
Schedule a Time
So the next question is when?
And that my friends is totally up to you, your work schedule and whether you’re a morning person or a night owl.
I’ve always been a night owl, but I’m now learning there is a advantage to getting up early and working on your art first thing.
That is of secondary importance at this point. The important thing is that you find some quiet, uninterrupted time to focus and work on your art.
While a few minutes here or there sketching is better than nothing, what you want is a good solid block of 1 to 2 hours of “deep work time." That's the state where time disappears and you are the most productive because you’re the most focused. Focus is key here.
Have a Plan
Plan your art goals weeks in advance. For instance, if you’re going to do a series of drawings or paintings inspired by something like Star Wars, have the next project in mind for what you will work on next.
Keep your pipeline full. Having commissions and freelance projects also helps maintain momentum.
Sometimes you feel like working on your art. Sometimes you don’t feel like working on your art. That doesn’t matter now.
What matters is that you’re going to choose to make time daily to work on your art.
The next thing you’re going to do is look ahead. What will you work on after you’re done with this project? Keep your pipeline full.
So, the next time you come home from work and feel like doing nothing but sitting in front of the TV and watch binge watching Netflix; you’re going to give the middle finger to Netflix, your phone, and social media.
You will politely, but firmly tell them,“I love you, but I’m seeing somebody else tonight.”
You’re going to go over to your drawing table, open up your sketchbook and draw. You’re going to do this every day. Whether you feel like it or not.
There’s a lot of things you do every day because you have to. You might not feel like getting out of bed in the morning to go to your job. But you do, because you have bills to pay and you also like to eat.
From now on, you’re going to approach your art like it’s not an option. Because it's not an option. An artist must make art. You must make art.
Now, go make something RAD!